Obituaries only way to know about deaths in J&K

Newspaper obits have become the only means by which Kashmir residents become aware of the deaths of their near and dear ones amid a communication blockade. AFP File Photo

Amid continuing communication blockade, people in Kashmir glance through newspapers every morning to see obituaries which have become the source of information to see if any demise has taken place in their relations.

When Adil Ahmad read a local English daily on August 28 morning, he was shocked to know that his cousin had passed away three days back and he and his family were yet to know about it. “My cousin’s family resides in old city Srinagar and since August 5, we could not visit there. My cousin had some ailments and he was undergoing treatment for the last several months,” Ahmad told DH.

After getting the shocking news, the family rushed to the residence of the deceased in old city. “Most of the relatives had not been able to attend the funeral prayers of the deceased as nobody could get the news in time. It was only the neighbours, who had participated in the last rites of my cousin,” he rued.

Adding further, Ahmad said, “We are mostly dependent on mobile phones now, but since they have been snapped, we have lost the track of each other.”
Kashmir is in the grip of tension after the Parliament scrapped Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories on August 5. Since then authorities have suspended the telecom services, including mobile phones and internet services, in the Valley.

However, some landline phones were partially restored two weeks ago, but considering the fact that most people have disconnected their landline services after the advent of mobile services, it has not helped much.

While reading a newspaper, Mushtaq Bhat, a businessman, was shocked to see the photo of his uncle on the obituary section. “I was shaken when I read the obituary of my uncle. He was not so unwell that we expected his death. I used to call him several times in a day, but since August 5 lost the track. As he lived in south Kashmir, I could not even go to meet him all these days, before newspaper obituary shocked me,” he said.

“While mourning the death of my uncle, I was telling my relatives there, if I would have not read the newspaper, I would never have come to know about his demise. In today’s world communication gag means hell and Kashmiris have been going through it for the last almost one week. Only God knows when will it be lifted,” Bhat added.

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